Time to consider some controls

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, October 5, 2005

A family in Suffolk today mourns the loss of a child.

Two-and-one-half-year-old Jonathan Martin was viciously mauled to death Monday morning by a 35-pound pit-bull named Ox that the family had apparently taken into their home.

We cannot begin to imagine the pain Jonathan’s parents must be suffering, not only for his loss, but knowing that neglect may have played a role in his death.

Email newsletter signup

And while we sympathize with a parent’s loss of a child, many are not unjustifiably outranged that such a thing was allowed to occur.

Pit bulls have been bred for generations to be aggressive and their powerful jaws exert enough force to easily crush bones. They have no place in a home with children.

They also have no place in an urban environment, yet one can drive around downtown Suffolk neighborhoods and see pit bulls chained to porches or stakes in the lawn.

Suffolk has no ordinance against harboring pit bulls within the city limits, but many cities do, among them Miami, Denver and Cincinnati. Perhaps it’s time to consider one. A child has been killed. That would seem to be a compelling enough reason for council to study the matter. The health and safety of children is at least as important as panhandling.

Granted, any dog can be dangerous and its temperament is often determined by its owner. Still, where pit bulls are concerned, the risk is far greater of severe injury or death.

It’s too late for little Jonathan Martin, but some type of controls put in place could prevent another tragedy.